Return to Transcripts main page
Quest Means Business
U.S. Closing Embassy In Kyiv, Moving Diplomats; Dow Down As U.S. Relocates Embassy In Ukraine; Russian Skater To Compete Despite Doping Controversy; Russian Skater To Compete Despite Doping Controversy; U.S. Anti-Doping Official Hijacked The Competition; IOC: No Medal Ceremony If Valieva Wins. 3-4p ET
Aired February 14, 2022 - 15:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And so you know, that's why we've seen, I think there's real difference of position when it
comes to the Americans who are being very, very hardline about the nature of the intelligence that they are assessing and the Ukrainians who are
really, really downplaying it.
And this February, the 16th date that Volodymyr Zelensky talked about during this sort of address to the nation on Facebook, announcing that
public holiday was a sort of light jab at the idea that there is another date that has been set for an invasion.
We've heard it before he said earlier on in the speech, and now, we're hearing it again. It wasn't meant to be taken, I think literally.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right, thanks for that clarification. You're inside the country. How are just ordinary Ukrainians
in Kyiv, in particular, where you are reacting to all of this? Is there a palpable sense of anxiety that an invasion could take place imminently?
CHANCE: I mean, on the surface, I don't think there is, I mean, you know, people are going about their daily business, and it is Valentine's Day
today. There is a big party, sort of in the hotel where we're staying here with loads of people gathering with big red heart shaped balloons, you
know, and their significant others.
Life is going on as normal in the daytime, there are cafes and restaurants, people going to the banks and things like that. There is no particular
sense of panic here in the Ukrainian capital.
The explanation for that that we are often given is that look, you know, Ukraine has been facing this Russian threat and fighting a war with Russia
with Russian-backed rebels for the past several years, for the past eight years and so they're used to this kind of pressure.
But at the same time, I have to say that, you know, there is a sort of sense in that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are trying to bolster themselves a
little bit more, making almost daily requests for weaponry from the United States and from other Western states as well to bolster their strength, you
know, and they've also started staging exercises of their own to make sure that they are in the best possible position they can be in if they are
indeed to be confronted with a concerted multipronged invasion by Russia's Armed Forces.
And so, yes, I think it's a concern, but you when you speak to people in the street, people are much like the President, and taking their lead
perhaps in the leadership here in the country as perhaps they should. You know, adopting a very calm attitude towards it.
GORANI: All right, our senior international correspondent In Kyiv, Matthew Chance. Thanks very much.
Let's talk about these news conferences in Washington. John Kirby at the Pentagon, followed by Ned Price, who confirmed that the United States is
really relocating its diplomatic staff from Kyiv to Lviv and closing its Kyiv location because of concerns for the safety of some of their
diplomatic staff, as well as intensifying efforts to impose sanctions on Russia should Moscow decide to invade.
And crucially, talking about how diplomacy is still an option, though it needs to happen within the context of de-escalation, which the United
States has not seen according to Ned Price at the State Department.
Let's go to Natasha Bertrand, our reporter in Washington with more. These are messages we've heard before from the United States. We're really just a
few days away from some of these dates that have been floating around Wednesday, for instance, Volodymyr Zelensky, said, in a way that it
shouldn't be taken at face value. But this is one of the dates that we've heard time and again. What should we make of what the U.S. is telegraphing
now to Russia?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, what they're saying is that we're prepared if you do invade, and we're prepared if you don't,
basically they are willing to pursue diplomacy until the very last possible moment, and that is something that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
signaled that they might be open to this morning, but they are also ready to impose severe consequences if Russia does end up launching that attack.
They still don't know really whether Putin has made that final decision to launch that attack. And they have kind of, you know -- and U.S.
Intelligence officials have told us that February 16th is one of those dates that the U.S. has been looking at for potential attack. We don't
exactly know why. That just seems to be what U.S. Intelligence officials have picked up in their collection on Russian officials that this seems to
be the day that Russia may launch that attack.
But of course, Ukraine still not really buying it. Volodymyr Zelensky basically saying with irony that all of these predictions, you know, none
of them really have yet to materialize, and he is trying to keep the public calm here.
The U.S. retort to that is, we are erring here on the side of transparency. We want to not only -- the United States, but also our allies, the rest of
the world to be prepared for a worst case scenario and that is why they are evacuating the Embassy in Kyiv.
They feel like the risk is too great for the U.S. to be staying for -- U.S. diplomats to be staying there at this moment. Obviously, they do not want a
repeat of what happened in Afghanistan. So, they are moving those diplomats further west, not entirely out of the country, which is somewhat of a
symbolic gesture to Ukraine that they are not completely evacuating, they're not abandoning Ukraine, but they are leaving Kyiv because again,
according to U.S. Intelligence, that is one of the targets that Russia could be eyeing here -- Hala.
GORANI: And what specifically is the concern about leaving a skeleton staff in an Embassy in Kyiv, what could happen? What's the worst case scenario
for the Americans?
BERTRAND: The worst case scenario, and this is something that the National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan laid out in the Sunday shows yesterday is
that we could see an aerial bombardment by Russia of the city of Kyiv, that any attack could begin with missiles launched on the city and that could be
followed by a big round invasion.
And so the idea that anyone will be spared in that, regardless of their nationality is just not something that the U.S. is willing to risk at this
point. It will just be very indiscriminate if and when Russia does invade, so they want U.S. persons out. They have been encouraging all American
citizens to leave the country. Of course, many of them are not willing to do so.
Again, a lot of projection of calm among the Ukrainian government. The U.S. you're not taking any chances.
GORANI: Natasha Bertrand, thanks very much, live in Washington.
Just reiterating what we heard from the State Department. They have not seen de-escalation despite those Sergey Lavrov comments, the Russian
Foreign Minister, that there is still a chance for diplomacy. And importantly, we are not saying the Americans say that Vladimir Putin has
made a final decision.
Meantime, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky is declaring Wednesday, February 16, a date that has been floated for weeks now as the
date that Russia could possibly invade the country though confirmed in no way as Unity Day. This is what Volodymyr Zelensky says that day should be
for Ukrainians across the country.
We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll have a lot more news. Do stay with CNN.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
GORANI: Welcome back everybody. A reminder of where we stand this hour. The U.S. is closing its Embassy in Kyiv and moving remaining diplomats to
Western Ukraine as Washington continues to warn Russia that Russia appears to be moving closer to an invasion.
A senior U.S. official tells CNN Russia is continuing to position more troops along the Ukrainian border, even as Moscow claims a diplomatic
solution may still be possible.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz today and called for a National Day of Unity this
Wednesday amid reports that a Russian attack may be imminent. And speaking in the last few minutes, the State Department spokesperson, Ned Price said
Russia's intentions remain unclear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: It remains unclear to us whether Russia is interested in pursuing diplomatically, pursuing a diplomatic path
as opposed to the use of force.
We remain committed to keeping the prospect of de-escalation through diplomacy alive. We will remain committed to doing that for as long as we
can, but Russia must de-escalate and engage in genuine dialogue and diplomacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, CNN's Alex Marquardt is on the ground in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine with more and importantly on that clarification from the office of
Volodymyr Zelensky, when he mentioned February 16th as a possible invasion date -- Alex.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really is remarkable, Hala, at this moment, when tensions are sky high, we are
told that President Zelensky essentially said this in jest, that he was being ironic, that's according to a top adviser, who we reached out to
after this Facebook video was posted.
In that video, President Zelensky says we are told that the invasion will happen on the 16th, on Wednesday, and therefore we will instead have a Day
of Unity and he said that the decree had been written.
And so of course, there has been some confusion. You'll note in that video, Hala, that he said, we have been told this, he didn't say, we believe this.
And all along for the past few weeks, as we've heard more alarms from the U.S. and from the rest of NATO, there has been strong skepticism from the
Ukrainian side about timelines, about Intelligence, and of course, about Russian intent.
So when we heard the National Security Adviser of the U.S., Jake Sullivan on Friday, give this really dire warning, the most dire warning yet that
the Russian invasion could happen in the coming days, it could happen before February 20th and happen this week that has just started, you have
to imagine that Western Intelligence is communicating to President Zelensky this is what we're seeing, this is what we're thinking, of course, the U.S.
is never going to say: Hey, we told the Ukrainians that this is going to happen on the 16th.
But clearly, someone has told Zelensky that this is going to happen on the 16th, and we heard Zelensky over the weekend say well, if you have the
Intelligence saying that this was 100 percent happening, then please show it to us.
And earlier today, we did also hear from a National Security official, who works for Zelensky saying that we don't believe that this is going to
happen. So President Zelensky making light of something at what is really a very tense moment, Hala. And this, of course, highlighting a very
different, you know how far apart the U.S. and Ukraine are in terms of attitudes and tone right now.
GORANI: And meantime, in Moscow, we're seeing Sergey Lavrov sitting at that super long table with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President in that highly
choreographed television moment, answering a question from the Russian President and saying, essentially, there is still a window of opportunity
for diplomacy and in fact that talks should be escalated.
What should we make of that at this critical time?
MARQUARDT: Well, once we get past that really long table, the substance of it is really quite interesting. As you noted, this is highly choreographed,
this was on state-run media on state television, so this is clearly for all of Russia and for all of the world to see.
And in it, you hear President Putin asking his top diplomat, essentially, should diplomatic conversations continue. And Sergey Lavrov, who has been
leading the charge meeting with Secretary Blinken, going to NATO, you know, he has been the one who has been dealing with the Foreign Ministries all
around the world, said not only should these conversations continue, but they should be escalated.
So that could be seen as a sign of progress, something positive, meaning that Russia does plan to continue with the discussions that have been
ongoing for weeks now.
It could also not be true. It could also be in response to make the U.S. look bad because the U.S. is going around saying that Russia is going to
invade. It's simply very difficult to say.
Of course, Europe and NATO and the U.S. really do want the diplomatic conversations to continue, but both sides have been shouting past each
other for quite some time, each side has key demands that the other side has rejected so that the question now is, can you find some middle ground?
Are there topics that can be discussed that would provide Russia with an off ramp to really deescalate the situation? And both sides essentially
believe that there are areas where they can have talks, but they simply aren't there yet -- Hala.
GORANI: All right, Alex Marquardt, thanks very much.
John Herbst is a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine. He joins me from Fairfax, Virginia. Thanks for being with us. Why have all the diplomatic
efforts so far failed?
JOHN HERBST, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: It's very simple: Putin wants to have major changes either in security structure of Europe like no
guarantees, Ukraine does not join NATO, or to have major changes in Ukraine's position in the Minsk negotiations.
And since those changes fly against the interest of the United States, NATO, Ukraine has not received them. That's why the diplomacy is not
GORANI: But is there no other leverage that the U.S. and its NATO allies have with Vladimir Putin, if you look at the combined political and
military power of this group, and on the other side, is Vladimir Putin?
HERBST: You're absolutely right, but you need to understand that the West has been very weak and slow and understanding the danger of Putin's foreign
policy. This is the first time before a Russian major strike, that the West is threatening, serious consequences. So that's a plus.
My suspicion is that Putin is concerned deeply about the sanctions that we're going to deliver to him if in fact he strikes, and about plussing up
of NATO forces along his borders if he really strikes.
GORANI: So if he is that concerned, why does he continue to move his troops into attack positions, increase the number of troops at the border,
encircle Ukraine in three different border areas? What is he doing? Is this just posturing saber rattling?
HERBST: Well, we can't rule out the prospect of him striking, because his current policy of moving Ukraine from the west is failing. But I think he
is actually hoping that by this massive demonstration of force, again, he will ultimately find someone weak-kneed to make a concession.
Or alternatively, at a minimum, this buildup is producing real harm to the Ukrainian economy. The Ukrainian government has spent hundreds -- excuse
me, tens of millions of dollars, maybe hundreds of billions of dollars in the last several weeks defending their national currency.
So he is already producing harm in Ukraine with this, even if he is only bluffing.
GORANI: Yes. The journalist and writer, Anne Applebaum wrote in "The Atlantic," that essentially Western countries have failed to truly sanction
the oligarch class of Russians who live abroad, that doing that would really hit them where it hurts, that they are still sending their kids to
fancy schools in Switzerland, they're still able to launder their money in when Western capitals and elsewhere. They still, even Sergey Lavrov
benefits from, she writes, fancy and expensive real estate in London, and that this is where the West should have looked. Do you agree with that?
HERBST: She's absolutely right that this is something that we should have done a long time ago, something we could do right now, and maybe in fact,
if Putin strikes, we'll do that.
But there are other measures that we have taken in the past, but we should take or rather new measures we should take now. For example, we should
sanction several large Russian banks if in fact, Putin goes into Ukraine with these forces.
We should also forbid old transactions on the Russian secondary debt market. Those would be absolutely devastating blows to the Russian economy.
GORANI: But does Putin care really or is his desire, his intense desire to fix what he sees is to right what he sees as a wrong in the post-Soviet
order stronger than that? Is willing to take the pain? Is he willing to take the pain?
HERBST: Putin has always to date, been a cautious risk taker, a risk taker, but within limits. If he were to launch a new invasion of Ukraine now, that
would make him a massive risk taker. I can't rule out the fact he might do that, but the interest of Russia, the interest of his own regime would
caution against it.
The question is whether he is so isolated and so adamant on this issue that he proceeds against better -- against reason. Possible, but I think less
than 50 percent.
GORANI: John Herbst, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, a pleasure. Thanks so much for joining us.
HERBST: My pleasure. Thank you.
GORANI: Well, Wall Street turned sharply lower on the geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe. The Dow has been down all day. It was trying to stage a
recovery, then the rally fizzled.
The S&P 500 is down, too. The NASDAQ has been trying to get back in the green but failing. The markets dropped as U.S. officials warned that Russia
appears to be getting its military ready to actually attack Ukraine.
Now, the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine rattled European markets despite the ongoing diplomatic push to avoid war. The major averages closed
lower in the U.K. and on the continent, there you have a selection of the top indices, the CAC 40 in Paris and Germany's main index were down sharply
more than two percent.
All of this, as we've been discussing is also disrupting Ukraine's economy. Two airlines say they've had trouble getting insurance for their domestic
flights. Ukraine Airlines, the country's national carrier said it had to reduce its fleet as a result, other airlines appear to be avoiding
Ukrainian airspace altogether.
FlightRadar shows the skies over eastern Ukraine nearly empty. You can see it on the map there.
CNN's Anna Stewart joins me now live from London with more. How does that translate? What type of hit is that for these airlines and for these travel
related industries in Ukraine?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: For now, in terms of the airlines, it's fairly limited. We're seeing some disruption for certain airlines and with a
variety of reasons actually, for instance, the Dutch government over the weekend issued a travel warning.
So Dutch airline, KLM was the first really to say it's going to suspend all of its flights. It normally flies to Kyiv twice a day. You have an airline
like Norwegian, they are simply rerouting. They're just avoiding Ukrainian airspace for now. That's impacting just a few of their routes.
Most airlines we spoke to today are just saying they are monitoring the situation very, very carefully. But some have been impacted by insurance
companies, as you mentioned, simply pulling their services for aircraft and leasing companies, and that was something Ukrainian government was very
worried about over the weekend.
They actually announced on the weekend on Facebook that they are allocating over half a billion dollars to help support airlines who do struggle with
insurance in the coming days.
Right now, looking at the departure boards and arrival boards in Kyiv Airport, for the next few hours and tomorrow morning, you still see most
international airlines are flying there -- Lufthansa, Ryanair, Swiss Turkish, of course, that would change incredibly quickly if you were to see
an invasion of Ukraine.
GORANI: Sure. And why our markets down? I mean, let's be clear, it's not a meltdown, but I mean, there's still a lot of nervousness on markets related
specifically to what's going on with Ukraine. How do you explain it?
STEWART: Yes, and today has been, I think, particularly jumpy. And there are a number of reasons. You know, it's never one thing with investors.
There is the risk that inflation poses in the interest rate environment, particularly in the U.S., but looking at markets today and you're looking
at the Dow Jones now, it was down 400 points off the back of the news that the U.S. is deciding to close its Embassy in Kyiv and move staff to the
west of the country, I think that really was a turning point in terms of today's session.
So, we've got all the major indices of the U.S. down, as you said, Europe closed sharply lower. The CAC 40, Xetra DAX both down by over two percent,
and a huge impact on oil and gas and that is unsurprising given Russia's role in energy markets.
So we saw Brent crude, for instance, push past the $96.00 a barrel mark. Gas futures again at a new high. We've seen that repeatedly, really over
Speaking to an analyst last week, Hala, I did ask what would happen in the event of a conflict in Ukraine in the event of sanctions on Russia to that
gas price, and he couldn't really come up with an upper limit. He said it was skyrocketing, and he sort of dreaded to think what the ceiling would be
GORANI: Yes. And what impact -- because obviously, sanctioning Russia doesn't just impact Russia, it impacts Russia's partners when -- especially
in the energy market, countries like Germany and other European countries. What impact -- negative impact could it have on Europe?
STEWART: Absolutely enormous. But really, when we're talking about sanctions on Russia, what we really need to know is what exactly would the
sanctions be because the reaction and the sort of fallout will be very different, depending on whether we're looking at Russia being disconnected
from SWIFT, from the financial network around the world, essentially cutting off from financing, whether we're looking at energy being targeted,
whether we're looking at softer sanctions on oligarchs, which we've seen before, I think it would be unlikely in this situation.
But you've got to add to the sanctions, the impact that we would then potentially see with Russian retaliation on energy markets, for instance.
In terms of energy, the fallout there really is huge given Europe relies on Russia for over 40 percent of its gas needs. It's a major player when it
comes to oil. We're still in the middle of winter. So the timing is not great.
And there is has a huge impact actually on all sorts of commodities. Russia is rich in palladium, in aluminum. It is a major, major player. There are
so many industries, it would have a big impact on companies very quickly.
GORANI: All right, Anna Stewart, thanks very much.
Coming up, the scandal that is overshadowing the Winter Games, a Russian skater has been allowed back on the ice even though she tested positive for
a banned substance.
GORANI: Russian figure skater, Kamila Valieva will be allowed to compete in the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday despite having tested positive for a banned
substance before the Games. An arbitration court said Valieva's case is unusual because she is a minor and needs to be treated differently.
Its decision does not address whether the 15-year-old actually violated doping rules that is still under investigation. And until it is resolved,
the IOC says it will not award her any medals.
Let's get more details now from Selina Wang.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the Russian Olympic Committee --
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A reprieve for a young Russian figure skater under immense pressure. Kamila Valieva, a favorite to take
individual gold at these Olympics allowed that chance despite her testing positive for a banned drug.
MATTHIEU REEB, DIRECTOR GENERAL, COURT OF ARBITRATION FOR SPORTS: First, the athlete is under 16 and is a protected person under the World Anti-
Doping Code. Preventing the athlete to compete at the Olympic Games would cause her irreparable harm.
WANG (voice over): The timeline here was crucial. Valieva took the test on Christmas Day, but it was only last week that the sample came back positive
for the drug trimetazidine and she and her teammates had already won gold here.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Monday that the minor has not had enough time to defend herself, so the issue is kicked on down the road.
Valieva will still compete here while a full investigation is done. The team could still be stripped of her medals in the coming months.
In the meantime, the IOC says it would not be appropriate to award her any medals.
(on camera): All eyes are on Kamila Valieva here in Beijing, but she is only 15 years old. The World Anti-Doping Agency says it will investigate
her entourage, the adults around her that may have pressured her into taking the banned substance.
(voice over): A glimpse behind the glimmering surface into the murky world of Russian sports, which has been accused of state-sponsored doping and
extreme pressure on very young athletes.
Team U.S.A. not holding back in a statement: "This appears to be another chapter in the systematic and pervasive disregard for clean sport by
The Russian figure skating Federation President labeling the decision, common sense and justice. While the IOC condemned any use of performance
How should clean athletes feel about the decision that is made?
MARK ADAMS, IOC SPOKESMAN: The system I'm afraid is slow justice. I'm afraid the wheels of justice do run slowly, we would like them to run
faster so there'll be clarity for everybody involved for all of the athletes.
WANG: Inescapable as the fact that clean athletes will line up Tuesday against a competition favorite who tested positive once. At an Olympics
dogged by politics and China's rights record, this doping scandal tainting the sport here as well.
Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.
GORANI: Dick Pound is a member of the International Olympic Committee and former vice president of the IOC. And he joins me now from Florida. Thanks
for being with us. Why is this athlete allowed to compete when there was a sample that was taken in December, it came back positive a few days ago,
clearly, there's an issue there. Why allow the skater to compete?
DICK POUND, MEMBER, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: Well, actually, a single test in sport is not necessarily a definitive -- finding a doping.
We always have two samples, the so called A and B. She's entitled to have the B sample analyzed. And if for some reason, that does not match the A
sample, it's all over. There's no positive test at all. If there -- if it does match, then there's a process you go through to figure out how it got
What should be the consequences for the athlete and so forth. And that's a -- somewhat time consuming process. It was unfortunate that it took so
GORANI: But why did it take so long? Because it was on Christmas Day, I understand that she was tested. And we only learned of this positive test a
few days ago. What -- where was the breakdown here?
POUND: The breakdown was twofold. One was the Russian Anti-Doping Agency which when it sent samples from St. Petersburg, which is where these were
taken to Stockholm for analysis in the Stockholm lab. They didn't say anything about expediting the process. And in the Stockholm lab, there were
a bunch of their employees that were afflicted with the COVID-19. So, they were short staffed and not knowing that this was a contained tests that
might be relevant for the Olympics, six weeks later. That's how long it took. And so, that was --
GORANI: Sorry to jump in. You know, what critics have been saying. They've been saying, look, Russia has basically not -- never really been punished
for the systemic cheating that went on for so many years that culminated in Sochi, that this is yet another illustration of how the Russians are not
playing by the rules, if indeed, that second sample confirms the test results of the first sample. So, is that the case that you believe that the
-- there needed to be more of a punishment?
POUND: Well, I think we're mixing apples and oranges here. I thought that the two-year punishment when water had called for a four-year punishment
was too easy. On the other hand, we've got a -- an arbitral panel that has a representative named by the Russians. One name by WADA, and then a chair
person in between, the dynamics of a panel of that nature are such that perhaps the price of unanimity was the reduced sentence.
But all of the findings and the methodology of the investigations and the analysis of the computer data and everything else that was done and found
by WADA were confirmed. And so, you trade catching them for a slightly lower penalty.
GORANI: So -- and then if indeed -- if indeed, this Russian skater wins the medal, there will be no metal ceremony the while the investigation
continues. And so this is punishing every other athlete in essence, isn't it?
POUND: It's disappointing, but on the other hand, if you are the person, you know, under investigation, you would want your procedural rights to
challenge this to not to be run over because everyone's mad at your country.
And so, balancing that is important. And I think the Court of Arbitration for Sport panel at a very Solomon like outcome in the sense that, you know,
if we don't keep the competition ban, the provisional suspension in place, she competes. But it'll work out in the end if we are out of the
competition, and it turns out that she's not guilty of the doping violation, we will have participated in, you know, a really life-damaging
exercise for her because she wouldn't have been able to participate in the games. So, I think that we'll have to trust the system and be a little
GORANI: All right. Thank you very much, Dick Pound. The IOC member for joining us live from Florida.
A word on the protests against vaccine mandates that started in North America it has filled into Europe. Police in Brussels have arrested nearly
three dozen so-called Freedom Convoy Protesters. They were among several hundred people who marched against pandemic restrictions. Police say the
arrests were for disturbing the public order or having prohibited weapons.
Authorities had organized roadblocks to prevent traffic disruptions in the city. And they wanted to prevent a repeat of the mess that happened at the
U.S.-Canadian border. A vital trade route between the two countries finally reopening after a blockade by protesters shut it down for almost a week.
CNN's Paula Newton is in Ottawa where the protests started. So how did they manage to clear the area then, Paula? And is it -- is it now fluid?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the bridge, it is, Hala. And as you just pointed out, I mean, look, that is the main artery of trade between
the United States and Canada. A quarter of all the trade between the two countries in the year goes through that crossing. They managed to do it
carefully and methodically, no one was hurt or injured. At least 25 arrests, if not more, by and large protesters left peacefully.
And I think many people were puzzled as to why it took police so long. But given what you described as well, that went on to the border blockade in
Alberta, given the fact that for a day they had intelligence that perhaps there might be weapons and ammunition on site. Police here are really
treading very carefully. Now I'm in Ottawa, right, Hala. And this protest is now going into its third week.
We expect in a little over an hour from now, the Prime Minister of the country, Justin Trudeau to tell Canadians what they're going to do next.
And some of that might be invoking emergency powers. What will that do? I'm sorry to tell you how long that will not clear the trucks and the
protesters out of here immediately. It will allow though for more cross country law enforcement, command and control. What does that mean?
That means, if you have a national police force, that they will have the laws and all the mechanisms, they will need to come in here and try and
clear this protest. Residents are just absolutely fed up, Hala, and so are Canadians. Equally though these protesters say they are fed up with the
COVID-19 measures. And I will say, Hala, we've spoken about it in our air that this protest has really been exploited by so many with so many
And they've gone through the top of pretty much wanting to arrest Justin Trudeau, they put that in writing, some of them to maybe just having him
talk to them and dropping some of the measures and that might work. And that's really highlighted the complications with trying to clear the
protest. Who are you speaking to? Who are the protest organizers? What do they want? None of that unclear.
What is clear, is that the Trudeau cabinet is really coming up with different conclusions about how this endangers public security and really
national security at this point. Hala?
GORANI: And are the protesters getting support from organized groups and other countries?
NEWTON: They are. We have had indications from Ottawa police who say that they believe that funding is coming from the United States and elsewhere.
And given what you said at the top, Hala. It isn't a stretch, right? To understand that this is a movement. It is an anti-government movement at
this time -- at this point of all types. And really the COVID-19 of restrictions have given agency to so many people who say that they do not
believe governments are working in their best interests.
People here in the Trudeau Government and even local authorities will tell you they believe that's dangerous and it is a risk to all institutions, not
just here in Canada. I can tell you, Hala, not just in the United States but throughout democracies around the world, they are looking at this
protest very carefully and seeing how to move.
Now some people will say that Trudeau's moves, that perhaps we'll announce in the next hour will be extraordinary. It's never been invoked this
emergency act and yet others will say that it is a necessary measure that unfortunately, Hala, will impinge on freedom of movement and freedom of
speech even if it's just for a short time. Momentous events here in Canada that, Hala, I'm telling you will have repercussions around the world even
if it's not immediately clear and the next days and weeks. Hala?
GORANI: OK. Paul Newton in Ottawa, thanks very much. That's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'll be back at the top of the hour as we make a dash for the
closing bell. Africa Avant Garde is next.
GORANI: Hi, everyone. It's Hala Gorani. It's the dash to the closing bell on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. We're just two minutes away, a little less than
two minutes away. The threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine rattle the markets during afternoon trading but the Dow has been mired in the red all
day. It has recovered some of its losses but came up short so it will end in the red. The other major averages have been down most of this session.
The NASDAQ has been trying to finish the day in the green and it looks like it might be succeeding. It's flat right now. The U.S. is closing its
Embassy in Kyiv and the State Department says it is not clear if Vladimir Putin is interested in diplomacy. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John
Herbst said the Russian president can cause harm though to Ukraine even if he doesn't invade.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN HERBST, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: I think he is actually hoping that by this massive demonstration of force again, he will
ultimately find someone weak need to make a concession. Or alternatively, at a minimum, this buildup is producing real harm to the Ukrainian economy.
The Ukrainian government has spent hundreds (INAUDIBLE) tens of millions of dollars, maybe hundreds of billions of dollars in the last several weeks
defending their national currency. So, he's already producing harm in Ukraine with this -- even if he's only bluffing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. John Herbst there. And that is your look at the closing bell. I'm Hala Gorani in London. Do stay with CNN. A lot more head. We'll
take a quick break. When we come back. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.